User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is without a doubt the most critical stage of the SDLC. This is where “the rubber hits the road”, and the customer and subject matter experts (SMEs) validate the business requirements.
This is also where typically some customers and SMEs tend to panic, get confused, worry, or simply get overwhelmed by the project at hand. Rightfully so, there is usually a lot at stake and the customer wants to make sure their business requirements are met, as does the consultant.
On one side, the customer and SMEs look up to the consultant for guidance drawn from years of experience, on the other hand, customers and SMEs also tend to think they know better.
So who is right?
Over 2 decades with HEAT Consulting, Business Analysis, and Project Management have taught me and reinforced, is that the customer isn’t always right and neither is the consultant. Looking at who is right is wrong! Instead of building a law case and looking to disprove one another, everyone needs to TRUST THE PROCESS.
If you have made it to UAT so far. Best Practice is to always review the steps taken (process) to-date.
- Scope of Work was Signed Off by Customer
- Business Requirements Elicited & Reviewed by Customer and Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- Prototype Reviewed & Signed Off by Customer
- System Testing performed by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- UAT Test Script Module implemented by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- UAT Test Script Examples provided by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- UAT Test Scripts created by Customer and SMEs
- UAT Test Scripts imported into UAT Module by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- UAT Kicked Off
- UAT Training Provided by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
…and the steps (milestones) ahead:
- UAT Testing by Customer
- UAT Test Scripts review by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- UAT Remediation (to address failed tests and gaps) by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- UAT Sign-Off
- Go-Live (Rollout) Prep by Customer/SMEs, and Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- Go-Live (Rollout) by Customer/SMEs, and lead by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- Go-Live (Rollout) Support by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- Post Go-Live (Rollout) Remediation by Ivanti HEAT Consultant
- Minor Enhancements (if needed and within scope)
- Major Enhancements (if needed and within scope)
In Summary, using the analogy of purchasing a car, the buyer (customer) has done their research and made a list of must-haves, and nice-to-haves (business requirements), identified the car type, model, and budget (scope) with the help of the dealership (Ivanti HEAT Consultant), and now it’s time to take the car (system) for a road test (UAT). This is where “rubber hits the pavement”.
UAT. This is where some customers tend to experience a little anxiety and suddenly question their very own requirements and the very system they helped build, see Common UAT Pitfalls for more details, while other customers shine and jump into the drivers seat and master the road test (UAT).
Acquiring a new car (System/Major Functionality Changes/Upgrades) can be overwhelming for many reasons, covered in the Common UAT Pitfalls Ivanti HEAT ITSM Blog Post. But like anything else in life, you need to do a self check and trust the process.
You’ve made it this far, sure the new car can be overwhelming, but once you hop into the driver seat (take responsibility) and go on that road-test (UAT), familiarize yourself with the new vehicle, adjust the mirrors, seat, study the controls (learning curve) and see how the vehicle handles (learning curve), you soon start parallel parking, emergency breaking tests, city driving, highway driving, and so on.
The road-test (UAT) is the time to stop kicking tires and take action. Trust the process and go for that test-drive. The goal is to report back any issues (UAT Test Scripts), collaborate with the family, (UAT Meetings with UAT Lead to review UAT Test Script Results), and ask questions (UAT Test Script Module has comments for the consultant), and not only CONTINUE with the road test (UAT Test Scripts), but go on several road tests (many tests per UAT Test Script), and before you know it, you master the new car (system).
The last thing you want to do is stop the road-test every time you are unsure (learning curve), have a question (Learning Curve / UAT Meeting), or feel something is not right (UAT Test Script Result). You keep driving and report back your findings (UAT Test Script results) and collaborate with the family (UAT Team) to see if your findings are issues or just a learning curve (new controls, new way of doing things), or terminology (gas tank versus fuel tank), or it’s a major change, like driving on the right side of the road to the left side (major system upgrade), which requires more test drives. Or maybe you’ve never driven a car before and you are upgrading from a motorbike, bicycle, or walking on foot (legacy systems, Excel, Word, handwritten notes). Assumption is that you’ve taken your driving test and have a valid license of course (experience in the business, and have used Windows and web-apps before). Nowadays web applications are intuitive, as is learning to drive a different type of car (sports car, SUV, mini-van, luxury car). The days of long thick training manuals and days of classroom training are in the past although training videos can be provided as needed to fill any major training gaps. In other words, a learner’s license and some time with an experienced driver are just as efficient as a 2 week intensive course. At this stage of the implementation all SMEs are typically well versed with handling a car (Windows, Web Applications).
The learning curve will vary and you must TRUST THE PROCESS. You’ve made it this far, and should feel confident you have the support of the internal teams and external Ivanti HEAT Consultant, however ultimately you need to do the test-drive. The Ivanti HEAT Consultant has already done his. Now is the time to roll-up-your-sleeves-get-to-work-test-test-test with the goal of testing and providing concise precise results back to identify any gaps and more importantly, CELEBRATE THE WINS, mark test results as passed. So focus on the EASY TESTS FIRST, you know the parallel parking, driving in the parking lot, city driving on a slow day, before you go on a multi-lane highway or off-road in the Rocky Mountains on one of the toughest terrains.
You will get there, just keep testing, and know that the combination of your planning of must-haves (business requirements), intimate knowledge of your business processes, and the extensive experience and guidance by the Ivanti HEAT Consultant will get you there!